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Power Line Comments on the U.N. Conference on Islamic/Western Relations:

Much worth reading. Note particularly the criticisms of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's remarks, and the comparison between the Iranian President's pious remarks about how "We must respect the beliefs of other nations and religions whether we believe in them or not" and how Iran actually treats the beliefs of other religions within Iran.

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

Vovan:
While Powerline provides legitimate critiques of the UN conference, it fails to to provide any alternatives.

Even if the proposals advocated by Tutu and others will not improve the situation, they are at least trying to address it.
Merely stating:

This is a huge problem, and it isn't going to be solved by U.N. boondoggles

will not solve anything either, especially since Pakistan, the country used to demostrate the fallacy of integration, is our primary ally in the War on Terror.
3.1.2006 12:58am
therut:
"TuTu is so so"--------Ronald Reagan
3.1.2006 1:21am
Justin (mail):
This seems like textbook kneejerk Powerline...why does this waste nearly 2 inches of the VC?
3.1.2006 2:08am
o' connuh j.:
Seems like textbook kneejerk reaction to Powerline. Why does Justin waste nearly 2 inches of VC?
3.1.2006 2:44am
Lev:

"We must respect the beliefs of other nations and religions whether we believe in them or not" and how Iran actually treats the beliefs of other religions within Iran.


Sounds like Richard Pryor: Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?

In any event, haven't we been informed by Muslims that it is a-ok for Muslims to lie to infidels, "the Koran tells us so"?
3.1.2006 3:11am
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
The "Iranian President" quoted is actually former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Since Khatami was a reformer, and repeatedly fought and lost battles with the hardliners who control the Guardian Council and much of the rest of Iran's government, it seems a little obtuse to simply dismiss his comments as ill-intentioned piety directed at the rest of the world. I am no expert on Iranian politics, but one could imagine that what he said was also directed to an Iranian audience. One could also imagine that Khatami perhaps showed more respect to minority religions within Iran than, say, the hardliners. It would not be the first time he's talked about such respect, as two minutes on the web shows.

Power Line says, "So this was a typical U.N. conference--lavishly funded, but completely worthless, and shot through with lies that no informed person could even pretend to believe." I personally would not spend my time at such a conference, which tells you something about how I would value the experience, but I can imagine that such conferences are useful in strengthening the position of reformers such as Khatami within his own country.

This is, perhaps, too subtle an idea for Powerline, so let's just stick to the hypocrisy angle for a second. Suppose that Bill Clinton spoke at a UN conference about the importance of respecting international law. Would anyone accuse him of false piety simply because the U.S. government can fairly be accused of acting otherwise? No one who, e.g., reads a newspaper occasionally should believe that Iran is hegemonic.

I don't see why the Power Line post is worth reading, unless the point is self-congratulation. Here's the level of sophistication they're showing over there.


Here are some of the useful ideas that emerged from the conference:


Suggestions during three days of brainstorming and workshops included setting up a broad student-teacher exchange among nations, and facilitating technology and Internet access in poor communities -- allowing young people the chance to learn other points of view.


Yes, that makes sense to me. The problem terrorists have is insufficient access to the internet.


Poor young people = terrorists. Whatever.
3.1.2006 11:18am
dick thompson (mail):
Tyrone,

Problem is that most terrorists are not poor young people but middle class young people. Getting the info to the poor would probably have no affect on the terrorists. If you look back at the people who did the most protesting in this country over the years they protested and then went home to their relatively well to do parents to get more funding so they could protest some more. The poor were too busy feeding themselves to pay much attention to the protesters. Same goes for the terrorists. Unless they are paid by the well to do the majority of the terrorists come from the middle class and are relatively well educated. Look at the ones who crashed into the WTC. They were hardly poor.
3.1.2006 12:55pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Is it just me or did the kid in the last photo look like an evil Harry Potter?
3.1.2006 1:17pm
barbar (mail):
Viewing "poverty" and "lack of internet access" as root causes is truly silly. As pointed out, the WTC hijackers weren't poor and they weren't even uneducated.

Now democracy and freedom, those things could have made a real difference.
3.1.2006 1:26pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):
Problem is that most terrorists are not poor young people but middle class young people. Getting the info to the poor would probably have no affect on the terrorists.

Viewing "poverty" and "lack of internet access" as root causes is truly silly.


I don't necessarily disagree with this, but the conference wasn't focused on solving the root causes of terrorism. Equating poor people and terrorists was Power Line's little gift to the discussion. The first two paragraphs of the NYT article that provoked Power Line's response:

The furor over the Prophet Muhammad drawings is a small part of an expanding divide between Islam and the West, or what international leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu described as the ''symptom of a more serious disease.''

Attending a U.N.-sponsored conference aimed at healing the deepening rift, Tutu and 19 other delegates agreed that key ways to bridge the chasm were reaching out to young people and providing more education. Even then, they agreed it would take years of dialogue and practical steps before the rift can be healed.

I'm not sure that worrying about improving internet access for the poor is particularly useful, but they were "brainstorming."
3.1.2006 3:20pm
josh:
what I like about this blog is the lack of purely partisan rancor and vitriol. linking to shills like Power Line makes it a little less appealing. i'm starting to realize even more the Muslim = Bad tenor of the blog's authors. forgive my political correctness.
3.1.2006 4:07pm
Barry P. (mail):
Josh:

Most of the contributors to this blog are Jewish. It isn't surprising that they're not positively predisposed to islam, all things considered.

Yes, the vast majority of moslems are "just normal people" whose main interests are caring for their family and being a part of their community. But the terrorism aspect can't be overlooked. Terrorism is a symptom of a much deeper problem with islam.

I'm reluctant to credit the windbag Tom Friedman with anything, but he is right about there being a broad-scale sense of humiliation in the global islamic community. This feeds a giant inferiority complex that is reinforced by observing the position of moslem countries in the world.

The quandary is that islam is the reason why islamic countries are underdeveloped, but the response to much of the "humiliation" has been "more islam" (or a more rigid interpretation). And the cycle continues. Can it be broken? How?
3.2.2006 1:04am
Huh:
I've never visited Powerline before.

The digital American flag waving proudly in the cyber-breeze is a classy touch.
3.2.2006 2:04am
Dustin (mail):
Huh,

Powerline is a good read. It is the very conservative republican sort of view, but it is generally as well written as anything you will find from that perspective.

It's good to hear all sorts of arguments.

Yeah, that particular flag pic is kinda cheesy isn't it?
3.2.2006 3:57am
Dustin (mail):
barry p, if Iraq ever becomes the next South Korea, this inferiority complex will easily develop into a contest.

As soon as a secular government is fueled by the private successes of a religious society, as is the case in the US and the ROK, that government will work for diverse educations and a healthy informed populace.

What we have now is oil instead of a middle class fueling middle eastern governments. That's what has to change. We need entrepreuners and investors in Iraq who will enjoy outrageous returns I hope. But that will only happen if things get safer.

It's going to take some years for investment to pick up. Then we will see the great government emerge, and then we will see a nation so bright the other nations will jealously be pushed in their direction.

Yeah, I know I'm making huge assumptions.
3.2.2006 4:04am